As misinformation surrounding COVID-19 propagates online, an expert in infectious diseases from Cleveland Clinic Children’s in the U.S. is reminding people of the old saying, “If something’s too good to be true, it probably is.”
Common advice circulating on social media includes the notion that eating garlic prevents COVID-19 infection or that taking a steaming, hot bath will protect people from the novel coronavirus.
Pediatric infectious disease specialist Frank Esper, M.D., stresses these are just myths — and they’re running rampant. But now, more than ever, he says it’s important to separate fact from fiction.
Here, Dr. Esper debunks five other common myths you may read online:
Myth 1: Hair dryers can kill the novel coronavirus
“People are thinking hot air kills this virus and are using blow dryers or somehow increasing the room temperature to help prevent the spread, but that will not happen,” Dr. Esper says. “That type of heat is not necessarily going to cause a change in the infectiousness of this particular virus.”
Myth 2: Hot, humid climates protect you from COVID-19
Think those in tropical or desert areas are in the clear? No. Evidence to date actually shows that COVID-19 can be transmitted in all areas, Dr. Esper says. Climate is not a factor.
Myth 3: Mosquitoes can spread coronavirus
Some people believe mosquitoes can spread the virus, but that’s not the case.
“This is a respiratory virus and honestly we’re doing just fine passing it amongst ourselves,” Dr. Esper says. “We don’t need mosquitoes’ help.
“Mosquitoes can transmit disease only by sucking your blood and transferring that blood into someone else,” he notes. So, yes, mosquitoes can transmit diseases like West Nile virus and malaria. But, he says, this virus doesn’t stay in your blood very long so mosquitoes aren’t a threat for transmitting it.
Myth 4: Ibuprofen can make a COVID-19 infection worse
While there was a report from the French Ministry of Health that made headlines recently suggesting ibuprofen can exacerbate a coronavirus infection, Dr. Esper says the evidence doesn’t support that. “We have not seen this in any of our experience here in the United States,” he says.
Myth 5: Only older people are at risk for the novel coronavirus
Guess again, says Dr. Esper. “Younger adults can get infected and can get severe infection — although not nearly as often as in older adults. We are really recognizing that young adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s should still be very vigilant to make sure that they don’t get this virus.”
What’s NOT a myth? Dr. Esper says the best way to prevent COVID-19 infection is by frequently washing your hands, using hand sanitizer and practicing social distancing.